As you may know, a major source of frustration for me has been attempting to plan my Fall 2012 marathon -- Beijing.
For the longest time, including as of this past Sunday, there has been no info -- not even the date -- on the official Chinese or English websites.
Then yesterday, as always, I checked. The English language website had changed colors! There is now something that says "2012 Marathon Notice," but of course it's not an active link and there's not any info there. BUT... if you look at the Chinese language version of the page, there appears to be a date countdown calendar!
Now this has happened once before -- the date calendar posted on the English version of the website, only to be pulled off a few days later.
That made me think there were logistical problems and the date may be changing.
Now it's counting down to the same day again -- 133 days away as of yesterday, a/k/a Oct. 14 (actually, it seems to be counting down to Oct. 15, which is a Monday, but I'm assuming there's something wrong with my calculation because of the date line or something).
That has me so excited. We might buy plane tickets today.
I looked online yesterday, right after I used the date calculator, and I managed to find an open-jaw ticket 100% on a major American carrier (AA) -- that's a huge bonus in a couple ways. First, of course, it's always easier to be on a single carrier -- if flights are delayed or canceled, you're only dealing with a single carrier. Second, AA means there's a decent chance of English-speakers at the airport counters, which will also help. Third, we'll be able to rack up some frequent flyer miles that we can actually use!
The way I'm contemplating the trip now is that I'll work a full day on Thursday, but start early and end early, and then we'd fly to Chicago Thursday afternoon. We'd then fly Thursday night from Chicago to Beijing, and land at about 9:30 p.m. on Friday.
I would prefer to do that entire trip a day earlier, so there would be more cushion before the marathon, but I just won't have enough vacation time to do that.
Saturday in Beijing we'd have to go to the expo and get my packet, but the rest of day would be free to explore. Ideally, the Forbidden City.
Then Sunday, marathon. Seeing some of the sites on foot along the way.
Monday, exploring Beijing.
Tuesday, a trip to the Great Wall, and then maybe flying to Xi'an Tuesday night or Wed. morning.
I need to see if we can stay with my friend in Beijing or if we should find a hotel.
Then a couple days in Xi'an, primarily to see the Terracotta Army, which is on my husband's short list of world sites he most wants to see (that he hasn't seen already).
From there, I think we'd fly to Chongqing. Spend maybe a day or so around the city there, then take a boat trip to Yichang, so we could see the Three Gorges and the river in general.
Maybe fly out of Yichang the same day we arrive there or the next day, depending on logistics I guess.
Then some time in Shanghai. Likely just a couple days.
I have some good friends who live in Shanghai, I wonder if I could talk them into meeting us in Chongqing and completing the rest of the trip with us? I used to work with the guy at the big firm where I worked (he's now in the firm's Shanghai office), and I got along really well with his wife -- if their son had been a daughter, she was going to be named after me! But it was a he, and he's named after my ex-b/f. Haha. It was actually a name they really liked, so it's not really named after him.
Then we'd fly home from Shanghai on a Sunday -- and get back to Dallas just a few hours after we take off (that whole date line thing again).
We'd be leaving the US on Oct. 11 and coming back Oct. 28.
OMG, OMG, OMG.
And the tickets were actually cheaper than I expected. Not cheap by any stretch of the imagination, but not much more expensive than our usual trip to Italy. If you're wondering, flying Dallas to Beijing and then Shanghai to Dallas all on AA on the dates we picked, coach class, ended up being about $1250 per person. We could do it cheaper by mixing carriers, but it wouldn't be worth it to miss out on the advantages (pun intended, that's the name of AA's frequent flyer program) of flying a single airline. I was definitely thinking it would be more like $1500 each. Obviously, there would still be about 3 more in-country tickets to book, plus the river cruise, and hotels, and then all the general costs of being there, but still, slightly better than I expected!